For the first time in a decade, the number of fatalities from traffic accidents has dropped to under 10,000 in 2012, it was reported at a conference on January 3 to review the 2012 Year of Traffic Safety.

Transport Minister Dinh La Thang, who is concurrently Vice Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said that there were more than 36,400 traffic accidents last year, down 17 percent year on year. The accidents killed 9,849 people, down 14 percent and injured more than 38,000 others, a decrease of 20 percent.

He highlighted the four provinces of Kien Giang, Vinh Phuc, Can Tho and Ha Tinh, which reported reductions of more than 30 percent in the numbers of accidents, fatalities and injured. The number of fatalities rose in only two provinces, which are Bac Kan and Dong Nai.

According to the minister, key reasons for traffic accidents last year included: drunk driving, speeding and lane jumping.

One of the targets set for the 2013 Year of Traffic Safety is to reduce the number of accidents, fatalities and injured by 5-10 percent, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told the conference.

To reach the target, Party committees and authorities of all levels as well as relevant ministries and agencies and social organisations should strengthen their leadership and direction on traffic safety.

The Deputy PM, who is also Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said the main theme of the 2013 Traffic Safety Committee is to raise the sense of responsibility of on-duty officers and awareness of road users. At the same time, relevant agencies should intensify inspections on the roads, strictly deal with violations, while successful solutions in reducing traffic congestions in big cities, especially Hanoi, will be applied on a larger scale. -VNA